Thursday, January 22, 2009
While I was busy being miserable a couple weeks ago, Chris looked for ways to keep the kids out of the house so I could rest in peace and quiet. He took them to the small Children's Museum in Visailia (the neighboring town), where Clara and Jonathan put on this production of one of my favorite songs right now, "I'm Yours" by Jason Mraz.
The other thing on Chris' list of things to tackle while he was hanging out with the kids, letting me rest, was to get Clara reading. He looked to the Hooked on Phonics set we bought a while back for some guidelines on how to go about it all. It worked! Clara has a way of refusing to try something when she thinks it's too hard -- never mind whether or not it really is too hard. It's extremely frustrating and something I have little patience for (despite the fact that I'm fairly certain she gets that from me). However, Chris was a saint when it came to staying patient to keep her in the game of reading! She's reading now, and is very excited about it. They practice a little every night and have started to bring in practicing math, spelling and writing as well.
Here she is with her workbook.
Those are all the books she has already read. The charts behind her help keep track of her progress. There's a chart for each subject (reading, spelling, writing and math). She gets to put a sticker on the path as she completes each new section. She's progressed so much in the past 2 weeks that Chris went ahead and ordered the Hooked on Phonics for the 1st grade level. I am so proud of this little girl...who told her she could grow up so fast?
Here she is reading to me one of the first evenings we were home after Christmas...when the morning sickness was at it's worst! I spent a lot of time in bed just trying to sleep the nausea away since I was lucky enough to have that luxury with Chris being home 24/7. Clara would come in to visit me and read to me to 'help me feel better'. I am a blessed woman!
So in the 3 weeks Chris had off after our vacation he set the same goals I had set as he left for his 6 month deployment: To have Clara riding her bike, to teach Clara to read, and to have Jonathan potty trained and out of the crib. Jonathan is not potty trained still, but honestly very little effort has been put in there, esp since Jonathan isn't showing any interest whatsoever. It's just not a task we look forward to. I can say I laid some groundwork on the bike riding, but all the credit for Clara's reading goes to Chris (and Clara, of course!) Do I feel bad that I was not so successful? Not at all. It simply has shown us how important it truly is to have 2 involved parents. It gave Chris a lot to think about. While we are extremely thankful and lucky (esp. in today's economy) to have the comfort and security of Chris' job in the navy, we are also more aware than ever of how important his role is in our family. Chris has begun to seriously think about and plan for our future after the navy, which we've planned to start in about 6 short years from now. Chris will retire once he has 20 years in, and we look forward to a time when he will not have to leave us for 6 months at a time anymore, will not have to miss any more milestones and will always be there to pick up the pieces when I fall short.
Who knows what that all really means for us in 6 years...either way, I'll say it again, I am a blessed woman!
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
So it doesn't look like much -- according to Clara it just looks like a bunch of scribbles. In fact, when I told her I was going to post these, she told me to be sure to tell everyone that it's a picture of the baby, because they may not think it looks like one! Still - today Chris and I got our first look of this little miracle and heard the heartbeat chugging away like a train! Is there any better sound when you're pregnant?
In this first one it's hard to see the baby, but the scribbles on the bottom show the baby's heartbeat at 180 bpm!
and there's the little munchkin! The head is towards the left, and body towards the right. I can't wait to see the baby in more detail in the next ultrasound, but for now we know the baby is growing on schedule (approx. 8 wks, 4 days) and the heartbeat is strong and healthy...what more could I ask for?
Many have asked what we hope to have...since we have already been blessed with a boy and a girl, we really don't have much of an opinion. However, Clara has put in a strong suggestion for a girl (as she did when I was pregnant with Jonathan). In the event that we actually have a girl, Clara thinks we should name her Ariel, after her favorite princess (Don't worry mom, it's not going to happen!) For now, I told her we could call the baby 'Scribbles', she's not so sure about that idea.
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Two-wheelin' was another milestone we've been working on for a while. Chris and Clara, just about have that one conquered too! She's made it up and down the street like this a couple times with Chris always at an arm's reach away...hopefully within the next week, she'll be zooming up and down the street 100% on her own!
Such a BIG Girl!
Once we got home and the morning sickness hit me in a bad way, and Chris decided to pass up his school in San Diego, he set up a game plan to tackle some obstacles/milestones we've been wanting to achieve around here. Suddenly he had time to face them and wasn't running low on patience as I had been just before he returned from deployment. The first order of business was Jonathan's crib conversion. Some of you may remember, we tried this once, just before Chris left on deployment, but Jonathan was clear when he told us he was NOT ready! This time went much more smoothly!
In the morning, just after Chris converted the crib, Jonathan was excited!
He even tried out jumping in his bed a little.
At naptime, he climbed right in ready to sleep...only the excitement didn't wear off so soon, so it was about an hour later when he actually fell asleep. Still, he stayed in the bed the whole time.
He was still asleep when we went in after his nap!
Tucked in with a blanket at bed time! Such a happy and proud smile!
We had Lunch with the Highway Dinosaurs in Cabazon, CA on the way home. You can see the dinosaurs from I-10, Chris thought it would be fun to check it out. I found it a little lackluster, but the kids thought it was pretty cool!
The T-Rex had Clara for a snack!
Chris and Clara with the T-Rex
We took the kids bowling one afternoon to kill some time -- they had a ball (pardon the pun!).
And she's up!
She lines it up
Bowling shoes are too cute on little ones!
There it is!
Lining it up
The kids bowl better than I do, perhaps I should have used the ramp as well :)
I tried to snap a quick pic on the way in to the zoo --Jonathan didn't think it was such a great idea and only posed for this one after insisting everyone put their hat on -- Don't ask me!
Jonathan and the cactus slide
It's always fun at the petting zoo.
Clara showed her how to be brave though, and has also offered to help Grandma Yonka get past her fears and pet a stingray, when she comes to see us this summer!
The zoo's photographers, had better luck getting a picture of us, and this time I got to be in it!
When Chris was growing up in Phoenix, his Dad worked as a mechanic on a ranch, keeping all the ranch vehicles in working order. Chris spent many summers out on the ranch helping out as well. He looks up to the people who own the ranch and couldn't think more highly of them if they were his own family, so each time we make a trip to Phoenix, we make time for a day at the ranch. Chris' dad moved from Phoenix a few years ago, so it's a little odd for me to go to the ranch and not see 'Grandpa John', but it's still great to go hang out there.
Jonathan is petting Waldo. There's always stray dogs who happen upon the ranch. The general rule is that as long as they play nice with the people and dogs already at the ranch, they can stay. Waldo appeared at the ranch a few years ago, before John left. He was one of John's favorites. The first time Clara went to the ranch a few years ago, she got to play with a litter of 'Waldo pups'!
I don't remember the cow's name, but Anita, the 'lady of the ranch' has worked closely with this cow since birth, so it was a very sweet and docile cow, who took an immediate liking to Jonathan.
As you can see, the feeling was mutual!
Clara even got to ride on the cow. Jonathan wasn't so excited about the prospect.
Clara, Chris, and Anita with the cow
We got to feed all horses too! The kids LOVED this part. Though we had to keep telling Jonathan to grab a chunk of hay and not just a few sticks, so as not to get bitten. He was fearless as always when it comes to loving animals, though Chris just about had a heart attack each time Jonathan stuck his hand in toward the horses' mouths!
They could have spent the whole day just feeding the horses!
This is what happens when Clara asked Daddy what the hay tasted like. After all, the horses seemed to really like it!
Getting ready to ride a horse.
Jonathan was once again not interested in riding the horse, but he was all about brushing it!
Talk about making a little girl's day!
She was so proud, so happy, and not the slightest bit scared, not to mention excited that they had a saddle that was 'just her size'!
Jonathan is such an animal lover!
We even got to see peacocks spread their feathers and do a little dance for a peahen!
Nope, not a grapefruit...it's a Pumelo.
There are tons of citrus trees on the ranch so, of course, we got some oranges, lemons, and grapefruit to go - YUM! We ate a couple oranges while we were still at the ranch and Jonathan was unwilling to let go of that one...he held it the whole way home!